Perspective is funny. Just take a look at social media. Probably the biggest phenomena of our generation, these platforms innately do a few things.
- Connect users with other users
- Allow them to share opinions and ideas
- Encourage use of the platform: Think Flickr or Instagram
- Provide a record of their past contributions
- Act as statistical resources for marketers and researchers
This is obvious for the most part. Monoliths like Facebook and Pinterest are the case and point. The more commonality, the greater the personal exposure. In other words, most people do not have a distinct preference for Facebook. They instead prefer the reach it offers. At least…that’s what easy to presume. But exposure is not the only appeal. One far more nascent and constructive is also present: affirmation.
The Power of Assertion, The Context of Privacy
Pussy Galore’s Yü Gung is the bee’s knees of phonetic distortion. Such assertions are far easier to make alone than in a gaggle of pop enthusiasts. Context and scenario is everything in social interactions. We also lose a bit of ourselves with these filters in place. Writing and other forms of expression, of course, are an excision of those opinions. They are also an assertion of them.
Not all social media use is individual. Plenty of accounts share within social contexts. But what are they doing? Writing or otherwise sharing actual experiences. Users may include their friends in such activities, sure. Contributions themselves, however, are still individual assertions made at the larger world.
Fabrication vs. Presentation
The act of sharing is communication. It crystallizes an event, person, or sentiment. It also exposes others to the content. Quite silly, therefore, to think users are unaware of this. So there is an acknowledgable duality with posting to social media. Users are both expressing and showcasing themselves.
There are plenty of ways to limit content. Groups, private messagers, and other options provide exclusivity. Still, near all shares and content go one place: the user’s page. Call it a wall, scroll, archive, whatever. It mostly lands there.
Judgement, and Perception, and THE VACUUM
The MBTI is slowly becoming as derided as Socionics. It still does make some noteworthy distinctions, though. Perhaps most prominent is the difference between judging and perceiving. As one can guess, both play an integral role in social media. The only difference is that on-screen stimulus is innately static. It is not a test of character or sociability. Most real life situations are.
Factors like confirmation bias, meanwhile, give us an inflated opinion of ourselves anyway. Put such tendencies in a vacuum and well…we most certainly don’t have Kanye West. That guy is just rich and powerful. What we do have, however, are bunch of personality equivalents without the lifestyle’s “stresses” sharing their day-to-day.
The most identifiable vacuum is solitary use. People share their opinions without any validation but social media. But there are other vacuums as well. Think stratification, “gentrification,” what have you. People who exclusively dwell in tight-knit or homogenous groups receive similar insulation. They too, stereotypically, have inflated opinions of themselves that they willingly share.
Perception modifies judgement: personal and interpersonal. Narrower perception, therefore, means narrower judgment. Stimulus plays a huge role.
Memorability and Conviction
We are the sum of our experiences. They form our expectations and interactions, both off and online. Communication ultimately fosters these conclusions. We are much more capable of recalling what we say, not what we hear.
Goes to show, then, that contributing to social media fosters a personal viewpoint. Overlap with actual life depends on the profile. Whatever the consistency, one thing is certain: contributing to social media bolsters personal conviction.
Time for a quick guessing game. Which is more memorable, writing or speaking one’s thoughts? It can vary, but writing often requires more effort and forethought. Logic goes, therefore, that it will also be more memorable. Most people like their social media profiles more than their “irl” selves. What does this signify? An active construction of “safe space.” Most journal users would argue it’s essential to the process. More on that in Part 2.Thanks Martin Howard for the photo via Creative Commons